Have you ever stopped to wonder why the majority of the “incredible dash camera” videos you watch on YouTube seem to have been recorded in Russia? The answer is simple — the country is currently battling a “crash-for-crash” epidemic that is costing drivers huge sums of money each year. In a “crash-for-cash” situation, a driver might go out of his or her way to hit your car — or make it look like you hit them — and file fraudulent insurance claims as a result. Some fraudsters don’t even bother using a car — they’ll just dive in front of your vehicle while you’re driving and say that you hit them, suing you for medical bills and pain and suffering.
While Russia may have been the birthplace of this phenomenon, it certainly isn’t the only country that is afflicted. The United Kingdom, for example, is currently home to a massive number of “crash-for-cash” schemes each year. According to the Association of British Insurers, the total amount of money obtained from these schemes reached an all-time high in 2013 of £811 million, or about $1.01 billion. All of this goes a long way toward explaining why, when responding to a poll, 71 percent of drivers across the country said that they overwhelmingly supported in-car dash cameras for British citizens.
Cash-for-Crash: Breaking It Down
When you really boil the situation down to cold, hard numbers, the overwhelming preference of British drivers makes a great deal of sense. Studies have estimated that even a single false claim like this could add about £90 per year to the average driver’s car insurance premiums, which is the equivalent of about $112 U.S. dollars. That isn’t exactly a small amount of money — to say nothing of how harrowing things can get if you’re the unfortunate victim of one of these types of schemes multiple times, which is absolutely a possibility.
When you consider that there are approximately 23.3 million private cars that travel the roads of the United Kingdom each day, these numbers begin to add up to huge totals.
Car dash cameras bring a wide range of different benefits to this situation that are far too important to ignore. For starters, even in legitimate crash situations, the footage recorded can be helpful. It helps to clear up confusion by recording footage that can eventually be used in a court of law, helping the appropriate people and legal teams get to the bottom of typical crash situations.
When someone deliberately causes an accident in order to make a fraudulent insurance claim, however, the cameras can also add an additional layer of protection that the victim wouldn’t otherwise have. Whether the opposing driver’s poor driving was to blame or the crash didn’t take place at all, the camera won’t lie. Many experts agree that dash cam technology is one of the only ways to prove what actually happened in a situation that has essentially boiled down to “your word versus mine” since the invention of the internal combustion engine.
Not only do more than 70 percent of UK drivers support the idea of in-car dash cameras, another survey found that 40 percent of drivers across the country were actively considering purchasing one for their vehicle. When you have to make the choice between a $100+ annual increase in your insurance premium and a one-time purchase of a few hundred dollars (or less) for a dash cam, you suddenly realize that you’re not looking at a choice at all.
Again — Russia and the United Kingdom are not the only countries afflicted by crash-for-cash schemes. It’s something that is increasing in popularity across the United States, too. Since the problem eventually gets so severe that the majority of drivers in a location use dash cameras to combat it, it will be interesting to see if the same cycle plays out in an identical way in the U.S. over the next few years.